Friday, February 25, 2011

Wabi Sabi Friday

Most Fridays I put on my wabi sabi shirt. I read this article about wabi sabi last year. Wabi sabi is the zen aesthetic of imperfection and impermanence. I realized that my best favorite shirt didn't have to be mended after all. The little frays just mean it was well worn. So I pulled it out of the mending pile where it had sat for many years. It is a big cotton shirt, striped with different colored cotton rather than dyed. I also retrieved my favorite old black sweater. My old black sweater has just the right drape, and it was just warm enough to wear around my drafty house on a cold day. It had a hole in one elbow. In the past I would mend the holes invisibly. I can do that. But I hadn't done it for years. It was on my list of things to mend, but once I knew about wabi sabi, I realized I could wear a sweater with a hole in the elbow, and it would be OK.
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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Scrap triangles

I am in the process of using up my 20-year collection of triangles. This is one of the products of that effort. I machine quilted the border only and put a binding on it before I hand quilted the diamonds 1/4 inch away from the seam. I would have quilted in the ditch, but I pressed the triangle seams open to make the surface flat.
This little quilt, about two feet square, is amazingly not a UFO. I started it last month and finished it yesterday. Notice the bright square superimposed on the "barn raising" pattern of triangles. The corners of the square are the bright aqua triangles, one square in from the sides.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Some old wall quilts

I don't have anything new to show just yet, so I am presenting some more of the quilts in the series of Cindy's quilts. Of course my other daughter has plenty of quilts, and those will be revealed eventually. But for now we are going to have a tour of the quilts on Cindy's walls.

The first quilt is a little log cabin quilt, which was inspired by a bright and colorful blouse that I saw one day. I made it about 20 years ago, when I was just starting to make quilts. The black border is hand quilted with a twist design in red thread. It's about eighteen inches square.

I learned the pattern "reversed squares" from an old quilting book of mine. The basis of this pattern is the square with four triangles around it - for example, the sets of squares and triangles that are in color. I came up with a method of quick-piecing this pattern. If I can recover it from my old computer, I'll put it up someday soon. This quilt is a bit larger - about two feet square.

This is my first paper quilt, a little over a foot square. I used small squares of Japanese paper, along with decorated squares from a polyhedron I made in college that was getting beat up and dusty. I gave it a second life by gluing the faces of the polyhedron and the Japanese paper to rice paper, and then I stitched a thin blue ribbon to the rice paper to cover the seams. The border is wrapping paper with a Japanese motif. It's in a black frame under glass.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pastel baby quilt pair

I was looking for another picture when I found the pastel baby quilt that I donated to our church's quilt drive a couple of years ago. I like it when the Trip Around the World pattern doesn't repeat the same fabrics on the outside diagonals that it uses on the inside diamonds. I also like fast strip piecing methods. This presents a problem for the Trip Around the World pattern, because there aren't the same number of squares of each color.
The way I solved this was to make two at once. In these two quilts, I've used exactly sixteen squares of each fabric, except for the center square.

Comfort Quilt

This is a baby quilt for our church's "Power of the Quilt" project. I machine quilted it and tried something different - the binding was attached to the back and sewn onto the front using the sewing machine. I would provide a close-up, but it was unremarkable. The stitching was uneven so I went around it one more time with a zig-zag stitch using a light blue satin thread on the top. Even sewing around twice, it probably took me less than 1/4 of the time to put the binding on this way as it would if I had sewn it on by hand.
I was going to try to cut the binding on the straight grain, but the piece of fabric I had was very narrow, so I cut on the bias as usual.
This quilt has been pinned and ready to go for a while now. It's on the list of my 2011 UFOs, but there's always another baby quilt waiting in the wings to be finished. Actually if I count all possibilities, there are 21 more church quilts waiting in the wings. Two tops and 19 ideas (but only three patterns).
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Monday, February 7, 2011

February UFO - finished!

I finished sewing the binding on this beautiful quilt at knitting group today! I made this quilt just over seventeen years ago, and the polyester navy blue bias tape was good enough to let it be viewed by many people. But now it has a subtle binding that blends in with the design. The dark area represents the unconscious mind. The light area represents the outer world, and the interface between the two represents consciousness. There is a spiral galaxy superimposed on the simple pattern - hard to see but if you look carefully, the bright squares on the top and the lighter squares on the bottom form the arms of a spiral galaxy. I used all kinds of fabric on this quilt - mostly the usual cotton, but also satin, corduroy, velvet, lamé, mesh and even some black vinyl.
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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sneak Preview

I wish I could have finished this whole project today. But it's late, and I ran out of time to finish. Bindings take a long time! Seventeen years ago when I made this quilt, I bound it with a navy blue polyester bias tape. I didn't have enough, so I pieced in some other blue fabric, which faded over the years. I was in a hurry, so I tacked it down with a long running stitch. For many years I wanted to replace the binding on this quilt. This was chosen as the February UFO. So it's almost done! It was harder than I thought, but it worked out. Sometime this week it should be done, and I'll post a big picture of the whole thing.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February's UFO pick

No picture of this quilt, but here's some history. This is a relatively easy project, so a picture will be forthcoming shortly, I hope!

In the late 1980s and early 1990s (and to this day), I was a big fan of the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator system, as described by David Keirsey in his book "Please Understand Me" (I am an INTJ). It was a wonderful tool that helped me fit myself better into the world of other people. After reading, studying and discussing this tool with my friends, I found out it was based on the work of the pioneering psychologist Carl Jung. One evening, I casually leafed through a copy of the Portable Jung at a party, and I was hooked. Absolutely hooked. I began to read Jung and the contemporary psychologist James Hillman, and I decided to apply to Pacifica Graduate Institute to study Jungian psychology. In that whirlwind spring of 1993, I heard James Hillman give a wonderful talk called "Alchemical Blue, a Mood of the Mind." At my interview for admission, I was told that there would be one class in the graduate program for which there would be an art project. Of course a quilt sprang into my mind, fully formed, on the drive back from the interview. The name of the quilt is Alchemical Blue.

"Finishing" this quilt has been on my list of things to do for a long, long time, even though I have hung this quilt in four different shows over the years. Now that it is a reality, it seems like a strange task.

That big awful midwest storm is headed towards New England, and will probably fell many trees and power lines tomorrow. Then I might need something to do by hand - removing the old binding and cutting bias strips for the new binding would fit the bill. So today I will work on other projects while I can still run the sewing machine.